2015.06 minutiae

  • There is a G.I. Joe character named Bazooka.  The blurb on the back of his action figure says:

    Bazooka was driving an Abrams tank in the "Third Horde" (Third Armored Div.) when he came to the realization that an illiterate farmer armed with a $200 disposable rocket launcher could knock out a million dollar tank with less than two weeks training.  He put in for a transfer immediately.

    This popped into my head for the first time in thirty years, and I suddenly realized — that doesn't mean that Bazooka himself was an illiterate farmer.  When I was eleven I just assumed that he'd had an epiphany about the ideal specialty for illiterate farmers like himself.

  • Gyaaahhh Department:  I got my new driver's license earlier this year, and this month I idly happened to look at it to check out all the new security features.  I noticed that the new expiration date was in 2020, and thought, "Whoa, they really bumped up the renewal period!"  Then I realized that, no, it's the same as always.  It's just that 2020 is no longer very far away.  My credit card doesn't expire until 2020 either.  Gyaaahhh.

  • Wikipedia on Akihito's granddaughter: "her interests include but are not limited to: writing Kanji characters, calligraphy, jump rope, playing piano and violin, and writing poetry".  See, that's the problem.  Everyone told me we'd be perfect for each other because of all we have in common, but my interests actually are limited to just those six things.

  • One morning at the Temescal farmers' market I was waiting for my pizza to finish cooking and found myself standing next to an empty chain-link enclosure, about the size of three parking spaces.  A mother was standing nearby with her two young daughters; I'm not great at guessing ages, but I'll say they were 4 and 2½.  The following conversation ensued:

    4-year-old:  (pointing at enclosure) "What's that?"
    Mom:  "I think it's a place for people to lock their bikes."
    2½-year-old:  "I know what it is!"
    Mom:  "You know what it is?"
    2½-year-old:  "It's a trap!"

  • I was watching a Youtube video of a history lecture given at Yale in 2007, and at one point the professor asked a question, and the person he called on to answer it was one of my old history tutoring students at Deerfield Academy, who had ended up going to Yale!  That's a pretty freaky coincidence if'n you ask me.

  • Someone on my Facebook list posted a link to an article about the recent rise of the word "mama" as a term of self-reference.  I didn't know that was a thing, but ugh — that word makes my skin crawl.  I'm not sure why — it's just an instinctive reaction.  I guess that if I were to try to diagnose my revulsion, it might be that "mama" is infantile — as in, it's literally one of a baby's first words, to the point that it's not even a word, but just a repeated syllable that the baby sees elicits a noteworthy response.  And while I generally like children a lot, I don't like babies.  The parents of my acquaintance are all over the spectrum in how much they agree with me on this, but while I might like to have a child someday, the infancy part holds no appeal to me — if I became a parent I imagine that I would be grimly counting down the days until the baby grew into someone who could converse in complete, comprehensible sentences.  "Mama" thus holds unpleasant associations with that grueling intervening slog.  And it also represents an infantilization of adult conversation.  Babies use it because they're just learning to articulate sounds; adults may use it when speaking to babies so that those babies will link the concept of "mother" to a sound they're capable of reproducing (though I wouldn't); but in the case of adults talking to adults neither of these is the case, so why would they use "mama" to refer to mothers any more than they'd use "tummy" to refer to stomachs or "choo-choo" to refer to trains?

  • I went down to the market and made a beeline for the Starter Bakery booth to get a strawberry kouign amann.  The guy in line in front of me pointed at the kouign amann display.  "What's that?"  The staffer explained: croissant dough, rolled with sugar, cooked into a little cake, etc., with a choice of plain, chocolate, or strawberry and cream.  The guy looked dubious.  "Enh… I'll get a strawberry, I guess."  It was the last one!  He didn't even really want it!  Agghh.

  • Discovering Sparks a few years ago reminded me that new wave is one of my favorite genres of music, but I couldn't find a way to get Pandora to feed me new wave songs I hadn't heard before — no matter how obscure the songs I seeded it with were, it would just reply back with the same Top Ten hits.  So a few months back I got hold of a 15-volume set of new wave music and have been listening to it during my daily run around the block.  At least, it purported to be new wave music; as it turned out, a lot of the songs had no connection to new wave that I could discern other than "came out when new wave was a thing".  And for the most part it was disappointing: volume after volume went by and the only songs I liked were ones I already knew by heart.  The big exception was Volume 11, which happened to have three good songs in a row, the first two of which I'd never heard before and the third of which I vaguely remembered but which hadn't made an impression on me back in the day.  Have a listen:

    clip from "Shiny Shiny" (Haysi Fantayzee, 1983)

    clip from "Mirror Mirror" (Dollar, 1981)

    clip from "The Lunatics" (Fun Boy Three, 1981)

comment on
reply via
this site
return to the
Calendar page